All the versions of this article: [English] [français]
Financial Express | 12 March 2022
India, Canada agree to consider interim trade deal
India and Canada have agreed to resume negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) and are eying an interim trade deal to bolster bilateral commerce.
The move came after commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal held talks with his Canadian counterpart Mary Ng here on Friday, as part of the fifth ministerial dialogue on trade & investment.
While no timeframe has been given for hammering out the interim pact, official sources indicated that it could be concluded as early as in six-nine months. This will be followed up with the broader FTA.
Both the countries have now decided to expedite the negotiations for the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), as the FTA will be formally called, which was stalled for a long time.
Both the sides are now considering an Interim Agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) that could bring early commercial gains to both the countries, according to a statement by the Indian commerce ministry.
“Both countries agreed to undertake intensified work with respect to the recognition of Canada’s systems approach to pest risk management in pulses and market access for Indian agriculture goods such as sweet corn, baby corn and banana etc,” the ministry said.
The interim deal could include high-level commitments in goods, services, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, and dispute settlement.
The negotiations are a part of India’s broader strategy to sign “balanced” trade agreements with key economies and revamp existing pacts to boost trade.
The move gained traction after New Delhi pulled out of the Beijing-dominated RCEP talks in November 2019.
India’s merchandise exports to Canada rose 25% until January this fiscal from a year before to $3 billion, while Canada’s rose 10% to $2.6 billion.
Major Indian exports to Canada include drugs and pharmaceuticals, iron & steel, marine products, cotton fabrics & readymade garments (RMG) and chemicals etc, while key Canadian exports to India comprise pulses, fertilizers, coal and crude petroleum, etc.